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Pavement: Brighten the Corners (Matador)

Mac Randall, Musician, April 1997

INDIE CRED. It's tough to acquire, but it's even harder to hang onto. Take the case of Pavement, a band boasting a distinctive guitar-based sound steeped in the Television/Sonic Youth tradition and one of rock's smartest (and funniest) lyricists, Stephen Malkmus. Their second album Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain was widely hailed as one of 1994's best. But with sales figures going up as newcomers caught on, the tastemaking elite were quick to grumble. The followup, Wowee Zowee, was largely greeted in critical circles by words like "conventional." That it was in fact stylistically more adventurous than its predecessor didn't matter; Pavement were getting too successful, and that couldn't be tolerated.

Total word count of piece: 401

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